Saudi Arabia accused of ‘trying to impose Wahhabism’ on Iran via TV

This year the annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca came amid the ongoing conflicts in Syria and Yemen and heightened tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran. In an interview with Sputnik Hossein Sheikholeslam, an adviser to the Iranian foreign minister, blamed Riyadh for the deadly stampede during last year’s Hajj.

Speaking about the ongoing Saudi and US airstrikes against innocent women and children in Yemen, Hossein Sheikholeslam said that they are being personally ordered by Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.

“And this man calls himself the ‘keeper of two shrines’ and ‘the messenger of grace and peace’ after what he has also done in Syria and Iraq!” Hossein Sheikholeslam said.

“The tragic loss of 7,000 lives, including almost 500 Iranian citizens during last year’s hajj in the Mina Valley, laid bare the utter incompetence displayed by the Saudi authorities who failed to ensure the security of the pilgrims. They even failed to supply enough water for the people which would have prevented such a terrible loss of life, preferring to just throw it down from helicopters,” Hossein Sheikholeslam continued, adding that Saudi Arabia’s “absolute dictatorship” was unable to accept any criticism or assume responsibility for its actions.

“All they care about is the wellbeing of their king and his clan, not the ordinary Muslims from around the world who have suffered in these tragedies,” he emphasized. “It’s absolutely amazing how the newly-installed monarch is doing nothing to change the country’s system of governance. The new king’s ambition has led to a real dynastic crisis by breaking the traditional system of power handover.

As a result, all key government posts went to totally incompetent people unable to properly organize the hajj, which eventually led to a tragedy,” Hossein Sheikholeslam added. Earlier this week Saudi Arabia launched a Persian-language satellite television channel broadcasting the Hajj as many Iranians had decided not to make the pilgrimage amid the current tensions between the two countries. Sputnik earlier quoted Saudi Minister of Culture and Information Adel al-Toraifi as saying that the new channel “aims to broadcast the message of Hajj, the eternal meanings of Islam and what is being provided by the kingdom…. to pilgrims and visitors.”

Hossein Sheikholeslam believes, however, that this project is far from peaceful as it “is trying to use television to impose Wahhabi ideology on Persian-language countries.”

“The Saudi monarchy is baseds on the ideology of Wahhabism and terrorism. It was with this idea in mind that they opened so many Koranic schools in Medina and just about anywhere else. And they now launched a Wahhabi television channel [to spread this ideology to Iran which hasn’t seen a single terrorist attack over the past several years]” he noted. “This mouthpiece of ideological propaganda threatens to spread murderous ideas to Iran and other Persian-language countries,” Hossein Sheikholeslam warned.

By Sputnik